(8) What Am I?


My readers know how the full moon affects me. At least, you’ve all heard me write about it numerous times. I can feel it coming on before the moon even rises and the mania (because that’s what it feels like) lasts until the moon wanes. Whether you believe me, think I’m delusional, or think I might be on to something is neither here nor there. Whatever the case, I write odd things when the moon’s full, so, for this month’s episode, I ask the question, what am I?

That I don’t know the answer to this is the single problem of my entire life. There’s a gaping, widening, hole in the center of my being that affects everything. Just imagine: how to interact with others if you don’t know your place in society? Even in our supposedly classless, egalitarian utopia, social status looms over every encounter. It certainly wreaks havoc with romantic relationships. Family reunions are a nightmare – all the cousins have settled into life with varying degrees of success, while I, the man-with-the-gaping-hole-in-the-chest, is carried down the life-stream helpless and dashed on every rock.

Without a purpose or sense of self, there’s nothing but crass hedonism. One manufactured high to the next. Each attempt to wile away the meaningless hours becomes more and more difficult.

As a side note, I recall a preacher’s sermon once. He says there’ll be work in Heaven. I hope to God he’s right because a life of coasting from one meaningless pleasure to the next is insufferable. I couldn’t imagine doing it for eternity. Better to ask God if He might dump us in the mindless cesspit of Hell, where men lose their personhood and consciousness amid an endless, unrelated, stream of experiences.

Remember the old Soviet method of torture? They’d make their prisoners move rocks from one place to the other then back again, with no purpose. It wears a man down and breaks the soul. My soul, for example, has been worn to the point of apathy about all things but the next meaningless pleasure to wile away the next meaningless hour.

I guess that’s not totally true, though. There’s still enough of me left to put this issue into words and pray to God to fill the gaping void in my chest. If He can’t do it, who can? With apologies to the Nietzschians reading this, a man simply cannot fill that void on his own. And I gather the vast majority of men are casually ushered by life into their place without self-reflection.

Is it too much of a damned miracle for God to answer this one prayer? To tell me this one thing? What’s it to Him? It would cost Him nothing – a flick of His finger to send a lounging angel down tonight with a five minute dream. To me, it would change everything. Let God but give me that one firm place to stand and I’d move the world – or, at least, all foreseeable barriers – to grow up and into eternity.

If you’re reading this and you don’t suffer from the gaping hole of identitylessness, and think I’m weak or silly or made to be despised, I wont say a word to contradict you. Nor will I wish on you the same maddening self-consciousness.

…I’ll probably bum a smoke off of you, though.

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